Miss Clovis 2015 Taylor Coloka, 19, is a community leader, college student, dance teacher, photography business owner, children-lover, reading advocate – and every girl’s secret dream – a San Francisco 49ers cheerleader on the weekends.
On Feb. 14, Coloka earned her crown at the Miss Clovis Scholarship competition at Mercedes Edwards Theater in Clovis.
Having never competed in pageants, her dance teacher and mentor encouraged her to pursue it, and like any fearless and ambitious young woman, Coloka gave it a try, and won.
Since being crowned, Coloka has introduced herself to the community through innovative social media techniques by starting her own video blog channel detailing a day as Miss Clovis.
She’s also made appearances at local events and schools, was a guest speaker for Relay for Life of Clovis, and has already secured dress and makeup sponsors for the year.
“It means a lot to me to me named Miss Clovis,” she said. “I grew up here, so I can represent the city I love and I get a whole year to show people why I love it and help kids achieve their goals too.”
First Book, an organization aimed at providing underprivileged children with access to new books, is Coloka’s pageant platform.
Coloka and the local First Book chapter helped start the library at the California State University, Fresno Autism Center, and now Coloka is planning a Children’s Picture Book Festival and Children’s Book Drive at A Book Barn in Clovis to raise funds for Marjaree Mason Center libraries.
The festival will begin at 2 p.m. April 18. There will be crafts for children, a reading by Coloka and guest appearances by local authors. Book donations will be accepted throughout the month of April and may be dropped off at A Book Barn.
“Literacy is the foundation of every communication aspect for every issue so it can help solve those problems that we’re having,” she said.
Coloka has read to more than 15 classrooms at Clovis Unified schools. She loves inspiring children and wants to be an elementary school teacher.
She says the best part about speaking to children is their questions.
“They have the best questions! Like, ‘What does your crown mean?’ Or, ‘Do you live in a castle’?”
The crown actually does have a meaning, she explains. The four points represent what Miss Clovis encompasses - style, success, service and scholarship.
Coloka hopes to one day write a children’s book and donate it to children in need.
The book idea was inspired by a student Coloka helped who always told her, “I can’t read that,” when she asked him to read to her.
“I want children to realize through the book that they can do things, it just takes small steps to get there,” she said.
Coloka also raises funds for The Miss America Organization partner Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, which benefits Valley Children’s Hospital on the local level.
“This young lady does not stop,” said Alyssa Bandoni, President and Executive Director of the Miss Clovis and Miss Clovis Outstanding Teen Scholarship pageant. “What is special about Taylor is her inviting presence. She can relate to anyone, which is a quality looked for not only as a Miss Clovis but as a Miss California and Miss America.”
In June, Coloka will compete against more than 50 other state title holders at the Miss California pageant held at the William Saroyan Theater in Fresno. If she earns that title, she’ll compete at the Miss America pageant in September in Atlantic City, N.J.
“With her incredible work ethic, outgoing and friendly personality, God-given talent, poise and composure, Taylor is one tough competitor, and we will not be surprised if she wins Miss California,” said Bandoni.
Coloka hopes to win that so she can travel the country, one of her interests. Miss America travels to a new city every 48 hours, she said, which will help bring her platform to a national level.
In the meantime, Miss Clovis 2015 is slated to model for the Mercedes Benz of Fresno Spring Fashion Show on April 18, will be in the Clovis Rodeo Parade on April 25, and will attend the Mayor’s Breakfast on May 14.